Museum curators among the most trusted professions, poll finds - Museums Association

Museum curators among the most trusted professions, poll finds

Index shows high earners have more trust in curators than those on low incomes
Profile image for Geraldine Kendall Adams
Geraldine Kendall Adams
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Visitors at the Great North Museum: Hancock
Visitors at the Great North Museum: Hancock

Museum curators are among the most highly trusted professions in Great Britain, the latest update of Ipsos Mori’s Veracity Index has found.

The poll asked 957 people living in England, Scotland and Wales whether they “generally trust” a range of professions to tell the truth, or not. The research found that 82% of the public say they trust curators to tell the truth, putting them in seventh place on the list of 30 professions, behind nurses, doctors, engineers, teachers, judges and professors – a pattern similar to polls of previous years.

The index shows a breakdown of results across a range of socio-economic categories, including gender, age, generation, tenure, social grade, government office region, working status and education. Although the level of trust in curators is strong across all categories, there are some significant gaps in trust levels between some groups.

Education is one of the strongest indicators of the likelihood of a person to trust the museum profession; the poll found that curators are trusted by 90% of those with degree-level qualifications and 70% of those without.    

There is also a gap in trust levels between people paying a mortgage (89%), and people in rented local authority housing (67%). And trust levels among people in the social grades with the highest income, AB and C1, are much higher (91%) than those in grade with the lowest income, DE (68%).

Age is also a factor; curators are trusted most by people aged 35-44 and 45-54 (both 89%) and least by people aged 18-24 and 25-34 (both 76%). Trust in curators is also lower among the over-65s (79%).

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Geographically, trust levels are lowest in London (75%) and highest in the Midlands (85%) and the South of England (84%). Trust levels are also high in Wales (82%) and Scotland (80%).

Mike Clemence, researcher at Ipsos Mori, said the latest poll shows that public trust in professions has not been notably shifted by the coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Nurses and doctors, who were the most trusted professions anyway, remain at the top of the public’s list. At the other end of the scale, politicians and advertising execs continue at the bottom, as they have done in most years they have featured in the index.

“We have recorded high levels of trust in some new professions that have been brought to public attention by the pandemic. Three quarters of the British public say they would trust a care home worker to tell the truth and a very similar proportion say the same about home delivery drivers.”

Ipsos Mori’s Veracity Index is Britain’s longest running poll on public trust in professions. The latest update is the 23rd wave of the poll.

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